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Buffers

A solution which does not undergo appreciable change in pH on addition of small amount of acid or base is called buffer. OR Buffers are aqueous systems that tend to resist changes in pH when small amounts of acid (H+) or base (OH-) are added. A buffer is usually composed of a weak acids and a salts of its strong conjugate base.

Buffers are indispensable for performing many biological reaction at their optimal rate in vitro.

Buffers play an important role in vivo also, because most of the biological reactions cannot operate efficiently and optimally at wide range of pHs.

A constant pH is maintained in cells and body fluids by the buffering action of various biological substances such as
phosphates, carbonates, bicarbonates, amino acids and protein
that are present in the cells and body fluids.

Since many metabolic reactions are accompanied by the release or uptake of protons, most intracellular reactions are buffered. Oxidative metabolism produces CO2, the anhydride of carbonic acid, which if not buffered would produce severe acidosis. Maintenance of a constant pH involves buffering by phosphate, bicarbonate, and proteins, which accept or release protons to resist a change in pH.

Types of buffers
1. Acid Buffer
Ex. CH3COOH + CH3COONa

2. Base Buffer
Ex. NH4OH + NH4Cl

pH of Buffer Solution
pH of the buffer solution are calculated by Henderson-Hasselbalch equation is derived from the rearrangement of the equilibrium equation for dissociation of a weak acid.

The effectiveness of a buffering system is maximal when it is operating at a pH near its pKa.

Maximum buffering capacity occurs 1 pH unit on either side of pKa.

A solution of a weak acid and its conjugate base buffers most effectively in the pH range pKa 1.0 pH unit.

Questions
Ques.1. A buffer solution is 0.1 M w.r.t. acetic acid as well as Sodium acetate calculate the pH of the buffer. (Ka CH3COOH =1.8x10-5) Ques.2. Calculate the pH of a mixture of 0.10 M acetic acid and 0.20 M sodium acetate. The pKa of acetic acid is 4.76. Ques.3. Calculate the ratio of the concentrations of acetate and acetic acid required in a buffer system of pH 5.30.

Ques.4. A weak monobasic acid is neutralized by with a strong base at half neutralization point then:a) pH = 1/2pKa b) pH = pKa c) pH = pKa + 1/2 d) pH = 1/2pKa-1/2

Ques.5. Calculate the pKa of lactic acid, given that when the concentration of lactic acid is 0.010 M and the concentration of lactate is 0.087 M, the pH is 4.80.

Buffering Capacity
Buffer resist changes in pH when small amounts of acid (H+) or alkali (OH-) are added. This resistance is known as buffer action. The ability of a buffer system to resist the change in pH on addition of acid or alkali from outside is called Buffering Capacity().

Buffering Capacity() is measured by the amount (or no. of moles) of strong acid or strong alkali required to alter the pH by 1 unit in 1 litre solution. = db / d (pH) Where; db is the volume of strong acid or alkali d (pH) is the difference in pH

Buffering capacity is also related to the buffer concentration. For example, the ability of a weak acid solution to buffer added acid is related to the concentration of conjugate base available to combine with the protons.

The greatest Buffering capacity is always find at the pKa values.

The best buffering action is achieved at pKa values 1